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Yacht StarShip

Yacht StarShip Dining Cruises

  • 603 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602
  • (813) 223-7999

Set sail on the waterways of Tampa Bay and Clearwater with Yacht StarShip and delight in a different kind of dining experience! When you come aboard our yachts, you can expect unmatched service, exquisite views and delicious, freshly-prepared dishes. Experience stunning Clearwater sunsets or the bright city lights of Downtown Tampa as you sip and savor your way through our upscale cuisine and cocktails. 

Yacht StarShip’s fleet of four luxury yachts are perfect for any size event from 25 – 600 guests and feature top quality service, breathtaking views, entertainment, and award-winning cuisine. Our all-inclusive event packages make planning easy seabreezy. Whether you want to tie the knot on a yacht, or create a sea of memories with a social celebration, our dedicated crew is here for you.

Make your reservation today! 

As America's first three-diamond rated dining yacht, Yacht StarShip offers the best views on the waters of Tampa Bay and award-winning cuisine. A dining experience on the 600-passenger Yacht StarShip, or the 150-passenger Yacht StarShip II is set to impress. Available for public or private cruises from Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and other local ports. Reserve your table today!

Dining/Nightlife

  • Cuisine: American
  • Days/Hours of Operation: Cruise dates and times vary. Call 813-223-7999 for information.
  • Dining Reservations: Required
  • Number of Indoor Seats: 600
  • Private/Group Room Capacity: 600
  • Style: Fine Dining
  • Total Restaurant Capacity: 600

Dining & Entertainment

Parking facilities, things to do & see.

  • Average length of Stay/Tour: Stay 3 hours
  • American Express
  • Largest Banquet Capacity: 600
  • Largest Classroom Capacity: 300
  • Largest Reception Capacity: 600
  • Largest Theatre Capacity: 300
  • Outdoor Facilities Sq Ft: 3000
  • Total Capacity (Reception): 600
  • Total Number of Meeting Rooms: 1
  • Total Square Footage: 6000
  • Map Show Map

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TAMPA BAY'S PREMIER DINING YACHTS

Tampa   •   st. petersburg   •   clearwater.

603 Channelside Drive Tampa, FL 33602

Click Here to Make  Your Reservations!

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Private Event Charters

Yacht StarShip's three yachts are perfect for any size event from 2 - 600 guests and feature top quality service, breathtaking views, entertainment, and award-winning cuisine. Yacht StarShip is America's First Dining Yacht to be recognized by AAA with a three-diamond rating and is the winner of "Best Event Facility" in 2010 by South & Central Tampa Tribune readers.

With our premium brand of service, Yacht StarShip is the only dining yacht of its kind in the South. We offer a place like no other for business, pleasure, or a spectacular combination of both. If you're seeking a one-of-a-kind venue for your next event, cruise aboard Yacht StarShip. Whether its a corporate event, networking meeting, convention, banquet, gala, bar/bat mitzvah, or a social get-together, you're sure to get glowing reviews from your guests!

We offer alternate docking locations throughout Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, Sarasota, and Tarpon Springs to accommodate your event. Additional charges may apply.

Corporate Holiday Parties • Team Building • Meetings and Conferences • Conventions

Click the Link Below for More Information 

Social Holiday Parties  •  Birthdays  •  School Dances  •  Tour & Travel Events

​Click the Link Below for More Information 

Testimonials

"The boat cruise was great, the boat is amazing and the food was awesome! Cannot say enough wonderful things – thanks for everything!!!"

-- Vice President of Conference Services

"I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that the event last night was such a success! It went beyond my expectations and your crew and DJ were absolutely outstanding. The food was superb and I just want you to know how much I appreciate your assistance in putting this together for me!  Thank you so much!"

-- Mother of the Bride

"Everything was fantastic!! Please thank your team for such a great time. Our attendees loved it, and Eric was such a great coordinator!

--Marketing Manager, Conferences & Tradeshows

"Our group had an enjoyable day. The weather was perfect, food was outstanding and the overall experience was quite enjoyable... as it was last time. Everyone had positive comments as well. I am not a salmon lover, by any means, but decided to try it. It was awesome!"

-- Kris K. Hart, Out and About Club, March 17th, 2015 

"Leapdoctor.com would like to  Thank  You for a wonderful evening.  From the moment we stepped on the ship until well after walking off – it was Amazing!  The entire staff was so accommodating.  The food was incredible, the 3rd level was so much fun, and then the dancing – what a party!   At the end with the little touches like Santa handing out the ornaments and  the staff waiting with cookies and hot beverages – was really impressive!  This by far was the best Holiday event for the price point  (we could have gone to any expensive restaurant and just had dinner – but with no fun – no thanks! ) Prior to even leaving the ship, we discussed booking again with StarShip.  You have an amazing crew and we like to give special Thanks to the following associates for their kindness and generosity:

Table Host - Ryan, Thank you for providing such great service with all of our requests.

Manager – Dan, Thank  you for taking our group picture.

Johnny and Chanel -  Charcutier’s (meat cutters) at the buffet – Thank you for you hospitality."

-- Janet Fimbel, Leapdoctor.com, December 10th, 2014

"Wow! The Yacht StarShip was the perfect venue for Emergence! I cannot thank you enough. All of our members had a terrific experience and most had never had the opportunity to take a sail before. I hope you all enjoyed the event as well. A Huge thank you to you and your team. Please pass along my sincerest gratitude. From start to finish your team made our guests feel like royalty! 

-- Ashley Ehrman, Emergence, May 28th, 2014

"My company EKS had our Christmas Party tonight on your ship.  Without a doubt, it was our best party ever.  Your staff from Captain Tom on down provided us with outstanding service from start to finish.  The food was excellent all around.  In fact, the bread pudding was such a hit that some of our folks inquired about the recipe - which was provided by your chef.  Janie Ambrose is a superstar.  She was on top of everything.  By the end of the cruise, everyone knew her name because she interacted with everyone to make sure they were being taken care of.  The Casino crew (Karl, Rachel and Jazz) you contracted were also great.  They explained the ins and outs of the games and kept everyone interested and excited." --EKS, Holiday Party Cruise, December 21st, 2013

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Men cling to overturned yacht for two hours

A marine incident ended in tragedy after a sailor’s body was located on Sunday, while a father and son clung to the side of the overturned yacht.

Shireen Khalil

‘No’: Airline snubs Trump supporter

Idiotic Bali stunt viewed 33 million times

Idiotic Bali stunt viewed 33 million times

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Surprise reason Virgin engine caught fire

The search for a missing sailor in Queensland has ended in tragedy after a man’s body was found by water police on Sunday.

The 65-year-old Yeppoon man was travelling from the coastal town to Brisbane, with two others - a father, aged in his 60s, and his son, aged in his 20s - when the yacht overturned near Lady Elliot Island.

Father and son winched from an overturned yacht off Bundaberg

The father and son managed to climb onto the upside-down vessel and set off an EPIRB, alerting Australian Maritime Safety Authority who deployed the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chopper shortly before 8.30am.

The duo held on tight for almost two hours until they were rescued.

“Less than two hours later, the crew managed to locate the men and performed two separate winch rescues, hoisting the men individually into the safety of the aircraft,” LifeFlight Rescue said in a statement on Sunday.

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crew winched a father and son from an overturned yacht on Sunday, in a rescue operation off the coast of Bundaberg.

“They were then flown to Bundaberg Hospital for observation.”

The search for the 65-year-old man began early Sunday morning after the yacht overturned about four nautical miles south of Lady Elliot Island.

It’s believed the keel snapped on the boat the men were on, causing it to overturn.

Police and emergency services commenced a search and rescue operation involving multiple vessels, police divers and the rescue helicopter.

However, after hours of searching the 65-year-old man’s body was tragically discovered just after 2pm.

Unfortunately the third person on the yacht – a 65-year-old Yeppoon man, did not survive. His body was found by police after 2pm on Sunday.

“Just after 10.15am, the rescue helicopter located two people in the water,” a Queensland police statement read.

“The 62-year-old Yeppoon man and 27-year-old Yeppoon man remain in stable conditions at Bundaberg Hospital.

“Just after 2pm, water police recovered the body of a 65-year-old Yeppoon man.”

More Coverage

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LifeFlight said it’s believed the keel snapped on the boat the men were on, causing it to overturn

According to publication Sea Born , the keel is often a structural beam that runs in the middle of the boat from bow to stern.

The purpose of the keel is to help give the boat greater stability and control while moving forward.

A supporter of Donald Trump alleges that the staff on a major airline flight snubbed her due to her wearing a MAGA hat.

A tourist has copped major flak online after engaging in an “embarrassing” act at a luxury resort in Bali with the clip attracting 33 million views.

Virgin has revealed the “possible cause” a flight to Melbourne was forced into an emergency landing after flames were seen coming out of one of its engines.

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Get the Yacht Mom Outfit of Your Dreams for Just $24

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Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships. We receive compensation when you click on a link and make a purchase. Learn more!

We always hear about rich mom, Hamptons mom and Range Rover mom styles, but we don’t hear as much about yacht mom style. Yacht mom style is a leveled-up version of these other styles; after all, yacht moms are already rich moms and occasionally Hamptons moms too, depending on how many millions are in the bank.

Hints of nautical European style, however, make yacht mom style completely different from the rest. The linen-looking materials , luxe neutral colors, occasional stripes, simple accessories and flowy design are just a few of the many things we love about yacht mom style! If you love the style too (minus the hefty yacht mom price tags), you’re in luck — we found a bestselling two-piece outfit on sale for under $25!

Related: 16 Elastic Waist Sundresses You'll Wear on Repeat

This flowy top and shorts set looks like it’s made of gauze linen, but it’s actually made of a skin-soft and lightweight polyester material that’ll keep you cooler, cozier and more ventilated than stiff linen. Many of Us opt for linen- looking  clothes made of polyester or cotton to avoid the thickness and scratchiness of linen anyway!

The top has a button-up design, foldover collar, short sleeves and an upper thigh-length hemline, allowing you to leave it out or tuck it in or as you please. It doesn’t squeeze your midsection in any capacity, so it’s the ideal outfit to wear when you want to dress cute and comfy but want a  flattering fit , too. Isn’t that always?

Speaking of comfortable, the bottoms have a loose elastic waistband that will make you forget you’re even wearing pants! They can be worn high-rise if you want to cover your tummy or low-rise to lengthen the torso — either way is flattering! Aside from comfort, the set is ultra-trendy and fashionable enough to wear out and about, especially on the front of the boat.

And if you’re vacationing this summer, even better! This set is ideal for perusing the streets of France or walking the Italian oceanfront. You can wear it with white sneakers for a sporty-luxe look, flip-flops for a casual beachy look or with sandals for an out-to-dinner outfit, so don’t be afraid to mix it up! All you need to dress it up is your favorite pair of wedges and a leather crossbody bag. You’re good to go!

If you love the style but aren’t a fan of pale green, there are six other colors to choose from, some neutrals like beige and black and some color colors like pink and purple. So grab yours and let’s hit the water!

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SpaceX’s Starship Rocket Successfully Completes 1st Return From Space

The company achieved a key set of ambitious goals on the fourth test flight of a vehicle that is central to Elon Musk’s vision of sending people to Mars.

SpaceX’s Starship Rocket Completes First Return From Space

Elon musk’s giant rocket, which launched from starbase in boca chica, texas, survived re-entry on its fourth test flight..

“We have liftoff.” “Vehicle is pitching down range.” “The Starship remains on a good entry trajectory.”

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By Kenneth Chang

SpaceX’s launch of its mammoth Starship rocket on Thursday accomplished a set of ambitious goals that Elon Musk, the company’s chief executive, had set out before the test flight, the fourth.

Lifting off from SpaceX’s launchpad at 7:50 a.m. in South Texas, near Brownsville, Starship rumbled into the sky.

After it dropped away from the upper stage, the booster was able to gently set down in the Gulf of Mexico while the second-stage spacecraft traveled halfway around the world, survived the searing temperatures of re-entering the atmosphere and also made a controlled splashdown, in the Indian Ocean.

The flight was not flawless, and tough technical hurdles remain. The successes, surpassing what was accomplished during the previous test flight in March, offered optimism that Mr. Musk can pull off his vision of a rocket that is the biggest and most powerful ever and yet entirely reusable.

The outcome also helps validate the company’s break-it-then-fix-it approach to engineering, with steady progress since the first test launch in April last year when the rocket had to be deliberately destroyed when it flew off course.

“They are showing a capability to make progress more rapidly than we may have thought they’d been able to make,” said Daniel L. Dumbacher, executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a professional society for engineers. “They’ve got a team that knows what they’re doing, has the capability is willing to learn, and just as importantly, is not beholden to past assumptions.”

If Starship can fly again and again, more like a jetliner than a conventional rocket, it could transform a global space launch industry that SpaceX already dominates.

Today’s flight is also likely encouraging for officials at NASA. They are counting on SpaceX to provide a version of Starship to take astronauts to the surface of the moon during NASA’s Artemis III mission, currently scheduled for late 2026.

Bill Nelson, the administrator of NASA, offered his congratulations on X, the social media site that Mr. Musk owns.

“We are another step closer to returning humanity to the Moon through #Artemis — then looking onward to Mars,” he wrote.

After reaching a peak altitude of about 130 miles, the Starship upper-stage vehicle fell back to Earth, as planned, and re-entered the atmosphere. Cameras on the spacecraft captured an vibrant glow of gases heating up beneath it.

At an altitude of about 30 miles, pieces started peeling away from one of the steering flaps near the top of the spacecraft, with the flap continued to work. The camera’s view then became obstructed when debris cracked the lens.

“The question is how much of the ship is left,” said Kate Tice, one of the hosts of the SpaceX broadcast.

Real-time data continued to stream back, relayed via SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites, to the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., all the way until the altitude was reported at 0 — the surface of the Indian Ocean.

A final engine burn flipped Starship to a vertical position just before landing.

“From South Texas to the other side of the Earth, Starship is in the water,” said Dan Huot, one of the other SpaceX webcast hosts. “What a day.”

A crowd of onlooking SpaceX employees outside mission control in California cheered wildly, with arms thrust upward in celebration.

“Despite loss of many tiles and a damaged flap, Starship made it all the way to a soft landing in the ocean!” Mr. Musk wrote on X.

The damaged flap and the loss of heat-resistant tiles points to crucial upgrades still needed. Otherwise, Starship would, like the space shuttles, require extensive refurbishment after each flight.

“But that’s all fixable,” Mr. Dumbacher said. “It’s a step in the right direction, and there are more steps that have to be taken.”

Earlier in the flight, the rocket’s first stage, the giant Super Heavy booster was also able to perform maneuvers that in the future would take it back to the launch site. For this flight, it simulated such a landing by setting down in the Gulf of Mexico. All three previous attempts at that feat have ended in explosions.

With the Starship vehicle stacked on top of the Super Heavy booster, the rocket is the tallest ever built — 397 feet tall, or about 90 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, including the pedestal.

The Super Heavy has 33 of SpaceX’s powerful Raptor engines sticking out of its bottom.

A view of the Starship spacecraft being mounted on a rocket on a launch stand with a large "SpaceX" sign in the foreground on a partly cloudy day.

As those engines lift Starship off the launchpad, they generate up to 16 million pounds of thrust at full throttle. On this flight, one of the engines failed to ignite, but that did not prevent it from continuing its trip to space.

A couple of weeks ago, after a successful launch rehearsal, Mr. Musk wrote on X that for this flight, “Primary goal is getting through max re-entry heating.”

In other words, he did not want the vehicle to burn up. And on Thursday, it did not.

The Starship launches have attracted spectators to SpaceX’s launch site near the southern tip of Texas.

On Thursday, they sat in beach chairs or atop pickup trucks and camper listening to the SpaceX broadcast. as the countdown continued.

“It is insane what they are doing here,” said Chris Thomassen, who had traveled from the Netherlands to watch the launch, camping out three days on a beach close to the launchpad, then moving to a spot just at the edge of the safety exclusion zone.

Robert Opel, 56, set up a tent outside the launch site four days before Thursday’s launch. He was so determined to see the liftoff from up close he had arranged to travel across the Rio Grande to Mexico, which is just a few miles from the launchpad.

“It is like all of your birthdays wrapped up into one,” Mr. Opel said, adding that this was the fourth — of four — Starship test launches that he had witnessed.

Eric Lipton contributed reporting from Boca Chica, Texas.

An earlier version of this article misstated the distance of the SpaceX launch site from the Mexican border. The launchpad is 2.5 miles from the border, not within a few hundred feet.

How we handle corrections

Kenneth Chang , a science reporter at The Times, covers NASA and the solar system, and research closer to Earth. More about Kenneth Chang

What’s Up in Space and Astronomy

Keep track of things going on in our solar system and all around the universe..

Never miss an eclipse, a meteor shower, a rocket launch or any other 2024 event  that’s out of this world with  our space and astronomy calendar .

The company SpaceX achieved a key set of ambitious goals  on the fourth test flight of a vehicle that is central to Elon Musk’s vision of sending people to Mars.

Euclid, a European Space Agency telescope launched into space last summer, finally showed off what it’s capable of with a batch of breathtaking images  and early science results.

A dramatic blast from the sun  set off the highest-level geomagnetic storm in Earth’s atmosphere, making the northern lights visible around the world .

With the help of Google Cloud, scientists who hunt killer asteroids churned through hundreds of thousands of images of the night sky to reveal 27,500 overlooked space rocks in the solar system .

Is Pluto a planet? And what is a planet, anyway? Test your knowledge here .

SpaceX targeting June 6 for next launch of Starship megarocket (photos)

It's shaping up to be a very busy week in spaceflight.

a giant rocket stands on a launch pad with the setting sun in the background

SpaceX's giant Starship rocket will fly again this week, if all goes according to plan.

The company announced over the weekend that it's targeting Thursday (June 6) for the fourth-ever test flight of Starship , the biggest and most powerful rocket the world has ever known. 

"Starship is ready to fly," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk wrote in a Sunday (June 2) X post , which also shared several photos of the 400-foot-tall (122 meters) rocket on the pad at Starbase, the company's manufacturing and launch site in South Texas.

Related: Relive SpaceX Starship's 3rd flight test in breathtaking photos

view of a giant rocket on the launch pad with the ocean in the foreground and the setting sun in the background

The Thursday target is a one-day slip from the previously announced "no earlier than" date . SpaceX did not give a reason for the change.

The company is eyeing a morning launch on Thursday, with a window opening as early as 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT; 7 a.m. local Texas time). SpaceX will webcast the action live via X, beginning 30 minutes before liftoff.

A Thursday launch is contingent on SpaceX's securing regulatory approval, as the company noted in its weekend announcement. That approval presumably concerns a Starship launch license modification, which the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has been reviewing.

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view of a giant rocket on the launch pad with the ocean in the foreground and the setting sun in the background

Starship has conducted three test flights to date, in April 2023 , November 2023 and March 14 of this year.

Starship has done significantly better on each successive flight. Its two stages — the Super Heavy booster and Starship (or simply "Ship") upper stage — failed to separate on the debut flight, which lasted just four minutes. The vehicle aced stage separation on launch number two and doubled its flight time. Starship achieved orbital velocity on flight three, which lasted nearly 50 minutes and ended when the upper stage broke apart upon reentry to Earth's atmosphere.

Flight four's trajectory will be similar to that of flight three, with Super Heavy targeting a Gulf of Mexico splashdown and the upper stage aiming to land in the Indian Ocean.

"The fourth flight test turns our focus from achieving orbit to demonstrating the ability to return and reuse Starship and Super Heavy," SpaceX wrote in a mission description . "The primary objectives will be executing a landing burn and soft splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico with the Super Heavy booster, and achieving a controlled entry of Starship."

— SpaceX launches giant Starship rocket into space on epic 3rd test flight (video)

— Starship and Super Heavy: SpaceX's Mars transportation system

— FAA to oversee investigation of SpaceX Starship's 3rd test flight

Wednesday should still be a busy day in spaceflight, even with the Starship push: NASA, Boeing and United Launch Alliance (ULA) are targeting Wednesday for the launch of Crew Flight Test (CFT), the first-ever astronaut mission of Boeing's new Starliner capsule.

CFT will send NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the International Space Station for a roughly week-long stay. The mission is scheduled to launch Wednesday at 10:52 a.m. EDT (1452 GMT) atop a ULA Atlas V rocket, after several delays.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: [email protected].

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with  Space.com  and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.

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FAA, NASA seek public input on SpaceX Starship launches at the Kennedy Space Center

The Federal Aviation Administration is preparing to gather public input on SpaceX Starship launch operations at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The request for comments comes about a month after the conclusion of an environmental review of a 100-acre expansion for SpaceX at its Hangar X site.

The pair of projects highlight an ongoing ramp up of activity for a company that aims to launch more than 140 Falcon launches by the end of 2024, most of them from Florida’s Space Coast.

“SpaceX draws a lot of attention. There’s no question about it. They’re doing a lot of amazing things and they draw a lot of attention from the public, not just locally or regionally, but worldwide,” said Don Dankert, the technical lead of the Environmental Management Branch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

On June 12 and 13, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will host a series of public scoping meetings to inform the public and answer questions about SpaceX’s proposal to launch Starship from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A). There will also be a virtual meeting on June 17 for those unable to attend in person.

  • June 12 – 2-4 p.m. ET, 6-8 p.m. ET at the Radisson Cape Canaveral, 8701 Astronaut Blvd, Cape Canaveral, Florida 32920
  • June 13 – 6-8 p.m. ET at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, Florida 32953
  • Zoom Link URL: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89402979916
  • ZOOM Meeting ID: 894 0297 9916
  • Call-in number options (all toll-free): 833-928-4608, 833-928-4609, or 833-928-4610

Among those attending the public hearings will be representative of the Department of the Air Force, the U.S. Space Force, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Canaveral National Seashore and SpaceX.

“Through scoping, you introduce the project to the public at large and others and you take that feedback and that’s really how we find that out: what are those key issues? What are the things, what are those areas that the public may have an elevated level of concern about?” Dankert said. “And that in turn will drive us to say, ‘Ok, we need to take a much harder look at this or delve in or maybe we didn’t consider that.”

Through the environmental impact statement (EIS) process, the FAA will lead a review of impacts from SpaceX Starship operations across a number of areas including air quality, coastal resources, land use, noise and water resources, among others.

The assessment is a follow-up to an EA prepared in 2019 for Starship launches.

“Since that time, there’s been changes in the vehicle configuration, the concept of operations, the infrastructure needs. And when SpaceX approached us with this, obviously they need an FAA license in order to operate at 39A at KSC,” Dankert said. “In looking at it, we scoped it as an EIS (environmental impact statement). In some sense, it will supplement or continue that analysis that we started in 2019.”

He said NASA requested that the FAA take on the role of the lead federal agency in this process, since they’re in charge of launch licenses.

“I think it gives us greater reliability and buys down some of the risk. The FAA is going to have exactly what they need to do their evaluation when it comes time for the licensing action,” Dankert explained. “KSC is what we call a ‘cooperating agency’ in the development of that document. So, we are fully engaged.”

Back in 2019, SpaceX’s proposal was for 24 Starship launches per year, but with a different-looking Starship rocket. Back then, it was thought the upper stage would consist of seven Raptor engines and would land on either Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS) or on a droneship.

Meanwhile, the Super Heavy booster would consist of 31 Raptor engines and land on a droneship as well. There were no plans at the time for the booster to return for a landing at LC-39A.

“SpaceX now proposes to construct additional launch infrastructure not previously contemplated in the 2019 EA: a Super Heavy booster catch tower, a natural gas liquefaction system and air separation unit for propellant generation, and stormwater/deluge ponds,” the FAA wrote. It added in a separate document that SpaceX would likely use about 1 million gallons of deluge water per launch attempt.

“SpaceX also proposes to launch an advanced design of the Starship and Super Heavy vehicle (up to nine raptor engines for Starship and up to 35 raptor engines for the Super Heavy booster), operate at a projected higher launch tempo (up to 44 launches per year), and land the Super Heavy booster at LC-39A in support of its reusability concept. Starship landings are no longer proposed to occur at Landing Zone 1 at CCSFS.”

The new proposal would also give SpaceX the option to land the booster either at LC-39A, on a droneship, or expend it at least five nautical miles off the coast. A similar environmental assessment is being conducted by the Department of the Air Force for Starship operations at Space Launch Complex 37, the former home of United Launch Alliance’s Delta 4 Heavy rocket.

In an FAA document outlining the proposal from SpaceX, the agency said there is no alternative option that is a reasonable change of course from the primary proposal. It argued that “the only alternative to the Proposed Action as described in this EIS is the No Action Alternative.”

“LC-39A could provide time-critical mission capability to NASA for near-term lunar exploration on the NASA Artemis and Human Landing System programs,” the FAA wrote. “In addition to NASA’s mission-critical requirements, LC-39A would provide launch site diversity for Starship-Super Heavy to serve commercial exploration interests.”

The FAA also offered a glimpse into the future versions of the fully integrated Starship rocket, stating that it “is expected to be up to 492 feet (150 meters) tall depending on configuration and approximately 30 feet in diameter.” That’s in comparison to the vehicle launching today, which is only 397 feet (121 meters) tall.

The document also states that the upgraded version of Starship will include 35 Raptor engines for the Super Heavy booster and nine for the upper stage.

100-acre no more woods

In addition to the Starship launch proposal, KSC has been busy with another SpaceX request. Dankert’s office spent the better part of two years reviewing a proposal from SpaceX to extend their main footprint at KSC, known as at the Roberts Road campus, by 100 acres.

Under an environmental assessment (EA) approved in 2018, SpaceX has been making notable expansions and improvements within its current 67 acres, but this new expansion aims to bring the majority of its assets around Brevard County to this one spot.

As is the case for any infrastructure project at KSC, that meant undergoing the federally mandated NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) review. Part of that involves calling for public opinion on the general proposal near the start of the assessment and then calling for public comment once again once a draft EA is issued.

“We put the document out, publish it on the website and give the public at large, including all of our stakeholder agencies and others, an opportunity to read the document, look at the post-findings, and then provide formal comment back to the agency for us and SpaceX to consider in the development of the final document,” Dankert said.

After doing their due diligence and considering all of the feedback, this spring, NASA issued a FONSI (finding of no significant impact), which paves the way for SpaceX to move forward with its expansion plans. The next step in that process is for SpaceX to establish a lease agreement with KSC.

“That is in work, in the final stages of executing that actual agreement between NASA and SpaceX,” Dankert said.

The transformation of this hundred acre plot of land won’t be a quick process. Part of SpaceX’s ability to develop the space will be submitting a site plan to NASA “with additional details on building dimensions and site layout,” according to the FONSI document.

“The KSC site plan review process identifies potential constraints including land use, operational conflicts, natural resources, line-of-sight, safety, and security, and ensures that the SpaceX plan complies with this SEA,” the document stated. “SpaceX would implement changes as required by NASA.”

Details of SpaceX’s future expansion remain largely held to the chest, but the documentation does provide some crumbs of information. For instance, in the biological opinion, prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Florida Ecological Services Field Office (FESFO), there are references to buildings that will stand as tall as 400 feet.

“The Action proposes the construction of multiple towers up to 400 feet in height,” Robert Carey, manager of the Division of Environmental Review in the FESFO, wrote in his report. “Thought the Action is located approximately six miles from the closest nesting beach, the height of these towers has the potential to be seen by nesting sea turtles during the sea turtle nesting season.”

For reference, the Statue of Liberty is about 305 feet (about 93m) in height and the current iteration of Starship’s Super Heavy booster is 232 feet (about 71m).

Even with the FONSI now issued, Dankert and his office will continue to work with SpaceX on the future of the site.

“When SpaceX starts to develop their finalized plans, we have an opportunity to review those and ensure that they’re using turtle-friendly lighting as they can, where applicable,” Dankert said. “Even though it is a good distance from the beach, that can contribute to what we call ‘sky glow’ out on the beach.”

“SpaceX has a great environmental staff that we work very closely with continually through land development, construction and then future operations.”

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Fire at Moses Lake —

Rocket report: starship is on the clock; virgin galactic at a crossroads, the payloads for the first ariane 6 launch are buttoned up for flight next month..

Stephen Clark - Jun 14, 2024 11:00 am UTC

The payload fairing for the first test flight of Europe's Ariane 6 rocket has been positioned around the small batch of satellites that will ride it into orbit.

Welcome to Edition 6.48 of the Rocket Report! Fresh off last week's dramatic test flight of SpaceX's Starship, teams in Texas are wasting no time gearing up for the next launch. Ground crews are replacing the entire heat shield on the next Starship spacecraft to overcome deficiencies identified on last week's flight. SpaceX has a whole lot to accomplish with Starship in the next several months if NASA is going to land astronauts on the Moon by the end of 2026.

As always, we welcome reader submissions , and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

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Virgin Galactic won't be flying again any time soon. After an impressive but brief flurry of spaceflight activity—seven human spaceflights in a year, even to suborbital space, is unprecedented for a private company—Virgin Galactic will now be grounded again for at least two years, Ars reports . That's because Colglazier and Virgin Galactic are betting it all on the development of a future "Delta class" of spaceships modeled on VSS Unity,  which made its last flight to suborbital space Saturday. Virgin Galactic, founded by Richard Branson, now finds itself at a crossroads as it chases profitability, which VSS Unity  had no hope of helping it achieve despite two decades of development and billions of dollars spent.

An uncertain future ... Now, Virgin Galactic's already anemic revenue numbers will drop to near zero as the company spends more capital to bring two Delta-class spaceships online. The goal is to start flying them in 2026. These vehicles are designed to be more easily reusable and carry six instead of four passengers. This timeline seems highly ambitious given that, at this point, the company is only developing tooling for the vehicles and won't begin major parts fabrication until later this year. Virgin Galactic is betting on the Delta-class ships as its stock price has precipitously fallen over the last couple of years. In fact, Virgin Galactic announced a reverse stock split this week in a bid to maintain its listing on the New York Stock Exchange. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

Unpacking North Korea's advancements in rocketry.  Late last month, North Korea signaled it has made—or more accurately, is still trying to make—a pretty big leap in rocket technology. The isolated totalitarian state's official news agency said it tested a new type of satellite launcher on May 27 powered by petroleum fuel and cryogenic liquid oxygen propellant. This is a radical change in North Korea's rocket program, and it took astute outside observers by surprise. Previous North Korean rockets used hypergolic propellants, typically hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide, or solid fuels, which are also well-suited for military ballistic missiles. Kerosene and liquid oxygen, on the other hand, aren't great propellants for missiles but are good for a pure space launcher.

Who's helping? ... The May 27 launch failed shortly after liftoff, while the unnamed rocket was still in first stage flight over the Yellow Sea. But there is tangible and circumstantial evidence that Russia played a role in the launch. The details are still murky, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited a Russian spaceport last September and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who suggested Russian help for the North's satellite launch program was on the agenda at the summit. South Korean defense officials said Russian experts visited North Korea in the run-up to the May 27 launch. If Russia exported a kerosene-fueled rocket engine, or perhaps an entire booster, to North Korea, it wouldn't be the first time Russia has shipped launch technology to the Korean Peninsula. Russia provided South Korea's nascent space launch program with three fully outfitted rocket boosters for test flights in 2009, 2010, and 2023 before the South developed a fully domestic rocket on its own.

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ABL signs deal with a new launch customer.  ABL Space Systems, which is still trying to get its light launcher into orbit, has a new customer. Scout Space announced this week it has signed a launch agreement with ABL for the launch of a small spacecraft called "Owlet-01" on the third flight of ABL's RS1 rocket, Space News reports . Scout Space, which describes itself as focused on space security and comprehensive space domain awareness, develops optical sensors to monitor the space environment. Owlet-01 will fly a telescope designed to detect other objects in space, a capability highly sought by the US military.

Still waiting on Flight 2 ... The launch agreement between ABL and Space Scout is contingent on the outcome of the second flight of the RS1 rocket, which ABL has been preparing for the last few months. ABL hasn't provided any public updates on the status of the second RS1 test flight since announcing in March that pre-flight preparations were underway at Kodiak Island, Alaska. The first RS1 rocket fell back on its launch pad in Alaska a few seconds after lifting off in January 2023. The RS1 is capable of hauling a payload of more than 1.3 metric tons to low-Earth orbit. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

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